“Air pollution is the greatest individual environmental risk to the health of European citizens”, according to EEA
The high levels of pollution that are being reached these days in some of our main cities, with Glasgow and London at the forefront, are a serious and serious threat to the health of those who inhabit them. This is because breathing polluted air kills. This is not something only environmentalists are saying, but the health authorities and our Gas Engineers here in Perth have spoken about it (I like businesses that educate their customers about the impact that their HVAC facilities have on the environment, that’s why I mention them).
To reduce pollution levels and face the greatest threat to our health, one of the most recommended and effective measures is to better manage the transit of motor vehicles through the streets, since it is proven that exhaust pipes emit more than 70 % of the main urban pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) or the harmful microparticles and nanoparticles (PM) that we talked about here last week.
Another measure that should be promoted in episodes of high pollution such as those we are experiencing these weeks is the responsible use of heating. It is not about turning off the boilers and getting freeze to death, but about regulating thermostats in a more efficient way to adjust our energy consumption to what is necessary, avoiding waste and increasing CO2 emissions.
Two years ago the Italian Ministry of the Environment urged local governments in all regions to reduce the use of heating in public buildings. The measure was part of a package of proposals to deal with the high levels of pollution that are reached in that country. The request was very specific: turn the thermostats in reverse to lower the temperature by two degrees. According to the calculations made by the ministry, this simple action could contribute to reducing by up to 10% of the polluting emissions associated with the use of heating.
The CO2 emissions generated by the use of heating and sanitary hot water (DHW) in a 100 m2 house inhabited by four people are usually around two tons per year. If we take into account that a car emits a ton every 5,000 km, we will conclude that the boilers also deserve attention when facing the problem of urban pollution.
Therefore, it is necessary to make more efficient use of heating. The use based on savings and efficiency is important because, as the authorities pointed out, turning the thermostat to the left just a couple of digits can contribute significantly, not only to clean up the family economy by cutting the gas or electricity bill but to prevent climate change from evolving into the worst scenarios described by scientists and above all, protecting our trees.